Wreckers operating on N4 with impunity – Michael Shackleton

DA MPL says there have been zero convictions for 149 cases of road spikes on highway, and the resultant deaths

Three lives lost from 149 cases of road spikes with zero convictions

8 June 2021

Three innocent lives have been lost at the hands of criminals who are placing spikes along the N4 highway, a clear indication that Gauteng motorists’ lives are in danger and raises great concern about the ability of police to ensure their safety while driving at night.

This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko, in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).

According to MEC Mazibuko, criminals place spikes on the road during the night time, with the intention of robbing victims when they have to conduct an emergency stop due to burst tyres. So far, 149 cases have been opened with regards to spike placement along the highway in the past three years to date.

Of these cases opened, only six arrests have been made but no convictions.

No convictions have resulted from the three culpable homicide cases reported at Pretoria North Police Station. As criminals continue to trap innocent motorists with their hazardous tactics, the families of these victims continue to wait for justice.

Not only do these roads spikes risk the lives of motorists who drive over them, motorists of incoming traffic are also in danger should a victim of this crime swerve too quickly to avoid the spike, or swerve after impact.

Gauteng motorists already do not feel safe considering the increased rate of crime as revealed by the SAPS Gauteng crime statistics for the fourth quarter for the 2020/21 financial year. Car hijacking has increased from 2290 cases in the 2019/20 financial year to 2328 cases in the 2020/21 financial year. The pattern is the same with truck hijacking, with 144 cases in the previous financial year to 206 in the 2020/21 financial year.

The safety of Gauteng road users are already at great risk with the absence of the Gauteng Traffic Police monitoring the highways during the night.

The DA has already demanded, and will continue demanding MEC Mazibuko to declare the Gauteng Traffic Police an essential service to ensure a 24-hour monitoring of Gauteng roads.

Driving at night is already a risky exercise for motorists due to no natural light, and they therefore do not deserve any further anxieties over possible spikes that could lead to them being victims of theft, hijackings or worse.

We call on motorists to report any highway lights that are not working to us via our DA GPL Twitter account or Facebook Page, where we will escalate the issue with the provincial and national department of transport to ensure that it is attended to.

Highway lighting is vital to security for road users during the night, and therefore the DA will be engaging with both the national and provincial departments of transport to install streets light in all our highways for the safety of our motorists.

Issued by Michael Shackleton, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety, 8 June 2021